Lincoln Mark LT is practical as well as luxurious

September 16, 2005|by MALCOLM GUNN/Wheelbase Communications

Luxury combined with versatility is what Ford's upscale division has attempted to create with the new Lincoln Mark LT pickup.

Actually, it's not exactly new in the truest sense of the word, but this upscale model is probably the most practical vehicle of the Lincoln bunch.

Primarily based on the hugely successful four-door Ford F-150 SuperCrew model, the Mark LT increases the premium-content role for pickups by delivering a practical hauler that also doubles as a black-tie chauffeur when the occasion demands.

In fact, Lincoln sees two distinct groups of buyers for the Mark LT: one that seeks a good-looking, well turned-out hauler that works hard when called upon and can play hard with equal aplomb; the other, mainly comprised of younger affluent customers, interested in a stylin' set of wheels that makes more of a fashion statement.


Not too long ago Lincoln flirted with a pickup that was predominantly aimed at the latter. The short-lived Blackwood looked great, but its limited cargo capacity hurt sales, and the vehicle quickly faded at the end of 2002 after only one year of production.

The Mark LT's designers aren't interested in a repeat of that experience. This pickup is no pretender and arrives with all the towing and carrying capacity you would expect in a full-size Ford truck. The 5' 6" box accepts a payload of up to 1,620 pounds and can hook up to 8,900 pounds worth of trailer weight.

The Mark LT isn't shy under the hood, either, with a 300-horsepower 5.4-liter V-8 that's also derived from the F-series.

A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available, but the Mark LT menu does include your choice of rear- or optional electronically controlled shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive.

The Lincoln folks use all this goodness as a foundation for the Mark LT and then do what they do best: pour on the glitz.

The fancy grille is done up in a chrome finish, as is the wide band of trim that extends along the side of the vehicle. Also visually arresting is the brilliant coating on the 18-inch wheels (20-inchers are optional).

From the back, the Mark LT differs from the F-150 with distinctive taillights that extend into the tailgate.

Inside, rich appointments come standard on the Mark LT, such as leather coverings on the seats (heated in front), steering wheel and console, plus genuine ebony wood trim for the dash and door panels. Of course, most convenience features, including climate control, power seats, premium sound system, keyless remote with keypad and anti-lock brakes are part of the not-so-basic package.

The Mark LT has also been fitted with Ford's Personal Safety System that deploys upper-body-protecting side-curtain air bags in the event of a rollover.

Options include a power moonroof, power adjustable pedals, rear-seat entertainment system, limited-slip axle, backup sensor, towing package, bed extender and a power-sliding rear window. In addition, skid plates can be ordered to protect the underside of 4x4 versions.

Despite its earlier Blackwood experience, Lincoln's product planners see a bright future for the Mark LT. The success of the mega-buck Cadillac EXT and Hummer H2 SUT has proven that an appetite does exist for such hardware, and the Lincoln brand adorning the much modified F150, as well as an attractive base price, will combine to draw the curious into the division's showrooms and make a little Lincoln magic.

Copyright 2005, Wheelbase Communications

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